Ruthless Nadal sets up semi-final showdown with Dimitrov

Esther Moore
October 8, 2017

Rafael Nadal got some fibre from a tennis ball lodged in his eye but that did not stop the world number one setting up a China Open semi-final on Saturday with "great guy" Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal led the second 3-1 but Dimitrov fought back to level at 4-4 before clinching the set.

Also, third-seeded Sorana Cirstea defeated fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-5, Caroline Garcia beat Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-1, and Petra Kvitova beat former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 6-4.

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The 16-time Grand Slam champion is expecting a hard match: "Tomorrow will be a tough one, for sure". He then exacted revenge for his Laver Cup loss with an impressive straight-sets win over the big-serving John Isner, prevailing in the tight affair which saw him fend off all three break points he faced in the encounter. That's important for me.

'He is a player that I really like, a good friend on the Tour, ' said Nadal of the Bulgarian. "But if you add that he is playing very well now from the baseline, he is one of the toughest opponents you can meet". I was playing good at the beginning of the second and probably I had nearly match point with those two break points for 3-love.

World No 31 Mannarino came from a set down to stun top seed Marin Cilic with a 6-7 6-4 6-0 victory that puts him into the first ATP 500 final of his career and would also give him the first title of his career. So many times I was close or a couple of times I was cramping. "I am very pleased the way that I have been playing the whole week, after a very tough first day". "It's never easy. I need to, right now, just stay positive and take the positives out of it. He played huge. So let's see what's going on tomorrow". I think I have done things as I want to do, and I've done well.

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